A Learning Specialist Explains How We Grow & Transform Through Travel

November 23, 2016 Nicolas Singh

How much do you invest in your personal growth and development each year? It’s a hot topic and a popular practice; just take a look at the Self-Help section on Amazon! Lifelong learning is an investment in ourselves that keeps us sharp, helps us develop new skills, and builds our self-worth.

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But what makes you grow? Is it the knowledge you gain from reading a book? Sure, there is that, but you learn so much more through experience. Having the opportunity to see, touch, smell, and explore -- to immerse yourself in a new environment -- can be entirely transformational.

Aren Cohen, a New York educational consultant and learning specialist, is a graduate of the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s a contributor in Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life (Positive Psychology News) and writes for Positive Psychology News about the importance of traveling in supporting our strengths.

How Expedition Travel Drives Personal Growth

On a 10-day vacation with her husband, Cohen noticed a number of her personal strengths amplified as a result of the travel experience. She took a deeper dive into eight of them. Here’s how we grow and transform through travel, according to this learning specialist:

Curiosity: “When we travel, our curiosity is fueled with a much greater intensity because everything around us is new and requires investigation,” Cohen explains.  When you’re relaxing in the superheated mineral waters of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, or inundated by the roars of a half dozen Southern Elephant Seals on an impossibly beautiful South Georgia beach, your every sense is alive. Expedition travel to the pristine, unique and lesser traveled polar regions piques your curiosity throughout the trip, and even afterwards. There’s just so much to learn about!Updated_Zodiac_Travel_-KT.jpg

Zest: “Vacations, no matter where you go, should inspire you with a sense of adventure,” Cohen writes. Polar expeditions, by their very nature, are steeped in adventure, from Zodiac cruising to hiking rugged Arctic tundra to kayaking Antarctic inlets littered with stunning blue icebergs and more.

Gratitude: On her trip, Cohen experienced a mishap that could have thrown a serious wrench in her plans, when the hotel they’d booked hadn’t reserved enough nights for them. At her husband and travel partner’s encouragement, she decided to go with the flow and refused to let the experience upset her. The couple ended up in an even better hotel, and had a great vacation experience after all. “All sorts of little things appear on vacations that elicit gratitude just for the opportunity to experience them,” Cohen writes. On your polar expedition, it might be a rare bird sighting on a day wildlife has been scarce, or an opportunity to visit an incredibly remote landing site if the conditions are just right. As long as you stay open to the unpredictable nature of the polar regions, you’re sure to find surprising experiences to make you grateful!
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Social intelligence: “Languages and local customs may be different, and all of this requires us to use a keen sense of social intelligence to get by in a new place,” Cohen explains. As you explore Thule and Viking influences in Greenland or becoming blissfully lost in the rhythmic story of an Inuit throat singing performance in Canada’s High Arctic, you’ll be accompanied and guided by experience polar expedition leaders. In expedition travel, you’re not left on your own to find your way, but will develop and grow your social intelligence in interactions with your fellow travelers. Expeditions are often a multicultural affair, as passengers from 150 countries join us each year. You might hike, climb, snowshoe, kayak or participate in another

What Makes You Grow?

Could it be your enhanced understanding of a unique culture and traditions that have survived thousands of years in the Arctic? Maybe for you, it’s the chance to finally just stand still for a moment and reconnect with yourself, digitally disconnected and surrounded by stark mountains, beautiful icebergs and ice beaches that plays tricks with your sense of perception.

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Travel encourages you break free of your comfort zone, explore new experiences and work on developing those positive traits that lie dormant in the humdrum of your everyday life. Learn more about polar expedition travel experiences; download our just-released 2017.18 Quark Expeditions Brochure now!

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